ASPIRE KCACTF/LORT Leadership Program

The KCACTF/LORT ASPIRE Leadership Fellows Program is designed to cultivate a new generation of artistic and administrative leaders for the American Theater with a focus of engaging Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and members of other groups that are consistently underrepresented in the field. This diverse national cohort of fellows assembled from all of KCACTF’s eight regions will engage in topics concerning equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism as well as leadership skills building, investigation of institutional challenges, and professional networking opportunities.

In Region 1, students in the ASPIRE Leadership program will

  • Attend scheduled ASPIRE Leadership Program workshops
  • Work with ASPIRE Program respondents to create and present a “pitch” for a theatrical season

Once students have presented their ideas, respondents will select a group of finalists to participate in the second round of the ASPIRE program. In this round, students will:

  • Present their resume and interests in theatre in an interview with ASPIRE program respondents

Finalists for the national ASPIRE Leadership Fellowship are evaluated based on the candidate’s potential and interest to:

  • Demonstrate artistic and administrative vision.
  • Lead and inspire others.
  • Collaborate with all members of a team.
  • Engage within the community at large.
  • Think outside the box and innovate.
  • Articulate the theatre’s role and relevance in global diversity and current events.

As a result of this process, one student from each regional ASPIRE Leadership Program will be selected to attend the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

This week-long immersion occurs as part of the annual national convening of the American College Theater Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The residency’s curriculum is designed and led by professionals from League of Resident Theaters member- institutions in partnership with staff from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The fellowship curriculum includes, but is not limited to:

  • Workshops in management techniques and training in institutional processes within the regional theater model.
  • Discussions with Kennedy Center leadership and staff, using the Kennedy Center’s resources for discussions about challenges and opportunities in the performing arts.
  • Site visits to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and DC-area theaters including Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and others to examine real world examples of leadership and institution.
  • Discussions with professionals from around the country within the field around the issues they face in their various communities.

Candidates for the ASPIRE Leadership Program, are selected from each year’s Arts Administration & Leadership Interns.

For more information, contact the regional chairs at